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The doves were cooing and larks twittered away
As waves of zephyr brought wave on wave of joy.

Morning came with tidings of laughter and light;
All the buds were smiling – the air was euphoric.

Time turned another tide, another night was parting –
Some spent it in love’s lap, while others sulked and pined.

I also spent it sitting in a world of fluorescence,
Blending thought with color, painting pictures.

I would spread out my sorrow fancying a beauty
Whose hues would singe out and eyes dim down.

Should I paint Laila’s face, of Shireen or of Mansoor
I am in everyone’s eyes – my pain beside my dreams

Should I take red and black to paint Changez? Taimur?
The fury of their eyes is fanning my own fire.

A sad fairy came along the way of these frenzied colors –
Neither Laila nor Shahi, Heer nor Shireen.

Her beauty was a longing, envisioned by a poet;
Her eyes were dim and sad, bound to someone’s love.

There was youth’s rhythm in every glance and gesture
Her body was a joy – colored with fresh love.

She said, ‘Artist, look at me, what am I?
A wretched idol’s vassal, lowlier than the low.’

I said, ‘You’re beauty’s daughter, a princess full of charm;
With a single fiery gaze, you’d raze a thousand thrones.’

I said, ‘O kin of sorrow, you are a fairy of flowers;
Wherefrom these hues of autumn in springtime of youth?

‘Yours are just not lips, they are joys and yearnings –
A hidden cellar where each droplet harbors a storm.

‘Such black and heavy burdens at your tender age,
O branch of red roses, your autumn is still far.

‘Let other veils be, just lift the veil of sadness;
Let laughter reach the flowers and lighten up the world.

‘You’re not an idol’s vassal – there’s brilliance in your eyes;
You are the cupbearer, wine, euphoria and love.

Such beauty yet unnoticed, and such love unrequited
The world must be blind if it cannot see your grace

‘Faithfulness shines through you and so do love and longing;
A sad thought is hiding the brilliance of your wishes.

‘Come here and sit by me; I am your kindred soul;
You are a flower of the wild and so am I.

‘I’ve also been hurt by life, pained and grieved;
My blood and love both weep and long for love.

She looked at me and smiled; her eyes welled up;
She took her black shawl and walked away in silence.

Her own hope, her wish became her guiding star
As she roved the desert in search of crimson flowers.

Like a dancer’s step, like a branch of blooms,
A touching world of grace is lost to consciousness.

Leaving me with another ache, a fond wish,
A golden grain of light from a radiant world.

Translated from Pashto by Taimur Khan

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